MALOLOS CITY – Top seed Mighty Sports survived a highly physical and highly emotional game against fourth seed Euro-Med Laboratories at the start of their best-of-three semifinal series for the 2016 Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) Chairman’s Cup at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center Sunday evening (May 15). After the smoke of battle cleared, the final score was 99-86 in a game filled with many twists and side stories.
Kevin Ferrer got Mighty Sports off on the right track as he bombed away for four triples en route to 13 points in the first period alone on top of 11 more from PCBL scoring leader Bright Akhuetie as they jumped to a 34-17. The best that Euro-Med could do was tie the score via a Lester Alvarez triple in response to Ferrer’s opening salvo.
From there, it was total domination by Mighty Sports while frustration set in early for Euro-Med, reaching boiling point when Coach Yong Garcia was ejected from the game for incurring back-to-back technical fouls for excessive complaining over an Ola Adeogun foul on Ferrer with only three ticks left before the halftime break.
That was the cue for Mighty Sports to continue pounding on their hapless opponents, leading by as much as 30 points in the final canto, 92-62, on a triple by Andrian Celada. Eric Salamat, Marte Gil and Jopher Custodio presided over Euro-Med’s 22-7 closing run to make the final deficit less embarrassing.
Mighty Sports’ masterful win was marred by a scuffle after the final buzzer. As both sides exchanged the customary pleasantries, Ferrer received a blow to the face from Adeogun, with timely intervention from PCBL officials and venue security preventing the situation from escalating further.
Ferrer ended up with a big cut on the bridge of his nose and blood coming out of both nostrils. For his part, Adeogun claimed Ferrer called him gago (stupid) hence provoking him to retaliate.
“I had no plans of returning Kevin to the game but he insisted to play because he is a real competitor,” said Coach Mike Fermin, who also credited the team’s intense five-day practice prior to the series as a big factor. “His shooting in the first quarter really set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Akhuetie led Mighty Sports with 24 points and 13 rebounds in only 25 minutes of action. Also contributing significantly were Gab Banal and Allan Mangahas with 12 points apiece.
Adeogun was clearly outplayed by his fellow Nigerian Akhuetie, coming out with 19 points and six rebounds. Salamat was next with 17 points while Alvarez chipped in 14 and Eliud Poligrates 11.
Coach Fermin also announced that team leader Kiefer Ravena will be arriving from his personal training camp in the United States on Wednesday morning (May 18) in time for Game Two of the series later in the day at the Marikina Sports Center. Ravena is currently the PCBL’s top Filipino scorer at 17.1 a game but has missed Mighty Sports’ last three outings.
The other semifinal series pits second seed and 2015 Founders Cup champion Jumbo Plastic against sixth seed Santa Lucia Realty. The Linoleum Giants lead the best-of-three series, 1-0, after stopping the Realtors in overtime, 94-89.
How They Scored:
MIGHTY SPORTS (99) – Akhuetie 24, Ferrer 13, Mangahas 12, Banal 12, Celada 11, Montilla 8, Tang 7, A. Bringas 4, M. Bringas 4, Melocoton 3, Wongchuking 1, Regalado 0, Lopez 0.
EURO-MED (84) – Adeogun 19, Salamat 17, Alvarez 14, Poligrates 11, Custodio 7, Gil 5, Almario 3, Capacio 3, Galanza 3, Llagas 2, Salcedo 0, Saitanan 0, Tajonera 0, Parala 0.
Period Scores: 34-17, 53-35, 77-54, 99-84.